Saturday, April 26, 2008

THE OXFORD MURDERS - beware of grad students bearing spaghetti

Can't even get decent food - right after I got here, I ordered some spaghetti with marinara sauce, and I got egg noodles and ketchup. I'm an average nobody... get to live the rest of my life like a schnook.THE OXFORD MURDERS is a tremendously silly murder mystery that fails on every level despite having a decent cast. Despite beng set in the picturesque quads of the University of Oxford, this film is a largely Spanish production which may explain some of the more stilted dialogue but not the fact that the script that has a feeble solution, a killer that no-one cares about and one of the most excruciating sex scenes I've ever seen.

John Hurt and Elijah Wood star as Maths professor, Arthur Seldom, and grad student, Martin. They are on the hunt for a serial killer who's trying to prove a neat mathematical point to Seldom, and so chooses victims who are already on the brink of death (so that's okay then!) The movie throws up a bunch of suspects who are odd but neither sinister nor threatening. Burn Gorman, who was so brilliant as Guppy in the recent BBC adaptation of BLEAK HOUSE, was particularly disappointing as Russian mathmo Podorov - just what was that accent he was attempting?! The final solution to the murders is disappointing both in terms of its mathematical content and because by that point I really didn't care a fig.

As far as it goes, THE OXFORD MURDERS might have been suitably condensed into a 1hr TV detective show - a more forgiving format. As a feature film it fails on every level. Where it tries to be sinister, it's banal. Where it tries to be sexy, it's causes genuine embarassment. Where it tries to be clever, it's obvious.

THE OXFORD MURDERS was released earlier this year in Spain, France and Italy. It is currently on release in the UK and opens in Argentina on May 1st.

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